Schema.org/WordPress image.Introduction

General research

Articles and posts (site name ordered)

  1. Microdata, yea nor nay? In the latest on The Beautiful, Tormented Machine ((always loved that blog title) | Aaron Bradley (2013), Semantic Search Marketing | Google+
  2. Google makes massive, AMP-facing changes to its article structured data guidelines | Aaron Bradley (2016-11-17), Semantic Search Marketing | Google+
  3. Top WordPress Plugins for Adding Structured Data | Ahmed Kaludi (2016): recommends WP SEO Structured Data Schema; criticizes Schema
  4. Schema Structured Data – SEO Guide by Raven (see his code example in Basic JSON-LD markup example): Schema App (free version for 10 pages or less): Schema App Structured Data | WordPress Plugins
  5. Schema.org Rich Snippet Plugins for WordPress Users | SEJ (looks at five schema.org (rich snippets) plugins)
  6. Why Is Structured Data Important | WordPress Schema Plugin | SparkLogin: Raven’s Schema Creator WordPress plugin
  7. How to add semantic data to your WordPress site in 20 minutes or less (WordSesh 2013) | illuminea (Miriam Schwab; 2013).
  8. Schema Markup – Rich Snippets in WordPress to boost SEO | WPism (includes stats on usage; lists commonly used schema.org item types; comment: Markup (JSON-LD) structured in schema.org | WordPress Plugins (4k))
  9. WordPress SEO Plugin For JSON-LD Structured Data Schema | WP Mayor
  10. Best Plugin To Add Schema Microdata To WordPress Pages | WPSites
  11. 5 Best Rich Snippets & Schema Markup Plugins For WordPress In 2016 | WP Superstars (2016-10): cites SEL post
  12. WP Rich Snippets By Author hReview Reviewed | WP Superstars (2016) is a review of WP Rich Snippets
  13. Yoast:
    1. Microformats and Schema.org | Yoast Knowledge Base (2016-06-23)
    2. Schema.org | Yoast category
    3. Use JSON-LD to add schema.org data to your website | Yoast (2016)
    4. Schema.org & Genesis 2.0 | Yoast Dev Blog (2013; Event schema example) excerpt:

      Why implement Schema.org markup?

      … Not just Google uses schema.org, all 4 major search engines, Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex use it for several different purposes. … So, in my opinion, schema.org markup is a must for everyone serious about their websites optimization.

  14. The JSON-LD Markup Guide To Local Business Schema | Whitespark (2015-05-28; excellent quality)
  15. A Guide To Schema Markup & Structured Data SEO Opportunities | Markova (2016-04-20; examples of the code for various popular schema types)
  16. Enrich SERP Results Using GTM | Simo Ahava’s blog (2015; dynamically inject JSON-LD specifications on your pages using Google Tag Manager)
  17. Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Rich Cards expands to more verticals

Guides and tutorial resources

  1. Schema.org
  2. Google
    1. Introduction to Structured Data | Google Developers
    2. Markup Helper
    3. About Structured Data Markup Helper | Search Console Help
    4. Articles  |  Search  |  Google Developers addresses the difference between the treatment of AMP pages with and without structured data
    5. Structured Data Markup Helper

Video:

  1. How to Add Structured Data to WordPress | YouTube (plugin adds some schema.org markup to your pages)

Google format preference

Microdata and JSON-LD are two different ways to mark up your data using the schema.org vocabulary. It’s best to choose either microdata or JSON-LD and avoid using both types on a single page or email. Google prefers microdata for web content. Microdata uses HTML tags and attributes to define data. S: Markup Helper.

JSON-LD is the recommended format. Google is in the process of adding JSON-LD support for all markup-powered features. The table below lists the exceptions to this. We recommend using JSON-LD where possible. S: Introduction to Structured Data | Google Developers.

Google’s structured data format preference?

structured data google preferred formats.

Of the three supported formats, JSON-LD, RDFa, and microdata, Google preferred format Structured Data Markup microdata vs JSON-LD:

… a summary of the format of structured data markup Google recommends for specific goals. S: Structured Data Markup Formats: Microdata vs JSON-LD vs RDFa | Engage The Crowd (2016-04-18).

We have seen lots of evidence that Google seemed to be skewing towards JSON-LD as their preferred schema markup, particularly as new types are introduced. They said a year ago that they were supporting more JSON-LD and did recommend JSON-LD for some specific types of rich snippets at that time. They began showing JSON-LD for recipe rich snippets last year too. S: JSON-LD Google’s Preferred Structured Data Markup | The SEM Post (2016-10-21; jsonld | The SEM Post).

Schema types

Schema.org‘s list of commonly used types:

Full Hierarchy | schema.org is the full list of types, shown on one page.

A Guide To Schema Markup & Structured Data SEO Opportunities By Site Type (2015-09-25) recommends which schemas you should use on your website. Excerpts:

Summary of recommendations:

  1. all sites (can and should be used across all different site types because they’re not specific to any vertical or industry.)
    1. The organization schema markup helps generate brand signals which can enhance your Knowledge Graph entry and website snippet presence in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
    2. The WebSite schema markup helps generate the Sitelinks Search Box feature for brand SERPs and can help your site name to appear in search results. You must, of course, have an existing site search on your website to enable the Sitelinks Search Box element.
    3. The BreadcrumbList schema allows you to mark up the breadcrumbs on your site to generate breadcrumb rich snippets for your pages in the SERPs.
    4. The SiteNavigationElement markup can help increase search engines’ understanding of your site structure and navigation and can be used to influence organic sitelinks.
    5. A site with embedded or hosted video content can leverage the VideoObject schema. Google primarily displays video rich snippets for YouTube videos, but this will help video rich snippets to appear for your Web pages in Google Video Search.
    6. Leverage the SoftwareApplication markup on your software apps to enable app rich snippets.
  2. E-Commerce Sites
    1. Schema Product & Offer Markup
    2. Schema Rating Markup
  3. Publisher Sites
    1. Schema Article Markup
  4. Local Business Sites: Schema Local Business Markup
  5. Event Sites: Event Schema Markup
  6. Recipe Sites: Recipe Schema Markup
  7. Personal Sites: Schema Person Markup

WordPress plugins

Plugins list

  1. 51Blocks JSON Schema Generator | WordPress Plugins (800) Add schema markup to a single page or entire site without outputting the markup on the actual site. Validate markup using Google Structured Data Testing Tool from a content editing meta box. The Schema WooCommerce Plugin fully implements schema for WooCommerce. (Schema WooCommerce Plugin by Schema App has a useful screenshot of the product forms)
  2. Author hReview | WordPress Plugins (4k; Hesham Zebida) adds Schema.org’s hReview and AggregateRating types
  3. itemprop WP for SERP/SEO Rich snippets | WordPress Plugins (3k) adds <meta tags> with schema.org item properties
  4. Organization Schema Widget | WordPress Plugins (6k) is a widget to display business contact info using HTML5 microdata markup from Schema.org.
  5. Schema | WordPress Plugins (4) JSON-LD format
  6. Schema App Structured Data | WordPress Plugins (4k) Use Schema.org structured data for all pages, posts, categories and profile pages on activation; use Schema App (pro) to customize any Schema markup; JSON-LD format
  7. Schema Creator by Raven | WordPress Plugins is no longer in the repo and included only because it had 40k in users and is recommended in older reviews
  8. WP SEO Structured Data Schema | WordPress Plugins (6k) JSON-LD format; 5 reasons why the plugin’s developer thinks that it’s best-in-class; recommended
  9. WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup – Schema / Structured Data / Rich Snippet Markup | WordPress Plugins (400) adds JSON-LD markup for article, event, organization, place/business, product, recipe, etc.
  10. Yoast SEO | WordPress Plugins (1m) plugin is noteworthy because it enables semantic tagging not only for Schema.org but also Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Note that its Schema.org markup is both limited and a mix of formats. Recommended. See:
    1. Microformats and Schema.org | Yoast Knowledge Base (2016-06-23)
    2. How to add semantic data to your WordPress site in 20 minutes or less (WordSesh 2013) | illuminea (Miriam Schwab; 2013).
  11. WPRichSnippets ($69/yr, $99/yr, $199/yr, $399; renew at 40% discount; Hesham Zebida) is an all-in-one plugin with a variety of options to build rich snippets; for review websites as well as product, organization, or restaurant; BlackFriday Sale 2016: Get Your Discount Codes (50% discount); reviewed in WP Rich Snippets By Author hReview Reviewed | WP Superstars (2016)

Plugins that use WordPress shortcode offer the advantage of the capability of editing the schema without starting over and preventing the microdata from breaking if you decide to edit a page or post in visual mode. S: Schema Structured Data – SEO Guide by Raven.

Tools

Google’s webmaster markup

Google’s free tool for generating structured data for a web page, Structured Data Markup Helper, allows you to choose the type of data to be tagged, enter the URL of a page and tag it up by highlighting the various content types and tagging it in a user-friendly and seamless process.

The tool’s limitation is that it generates semantic code per-page. While that works for a static HTML site, a dynamic WordPress site requires another tool, Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). Go to Other Resources and then Structured Data Testing Tool. It checks that Google can correctly parse your structured data markup and display it in search results.

The Structured Data Testing Tool takes a URL and returns what the SERP would display for the markup in the submitted page. Use the two buttons in the Articles  |  Search  |  Google Developers page to see sample markup.

Google’s Data Highlighter

About Data Highlighter | Search Console Help excerpt:

Data Highlighter is a webmaster tool for teaching Google about the pattern of structured data on your website. You simply use Data Highlighter to tag the data fields on your site with a mouse. Then Google can present your data more attractively — and in new ways — in search results and in other products such as the Google Knowledge Graph.

Data Highlighter excerpt:

Now there’s a new alternative to webmaster markup for helping Google understand your site’s data.

That page is an excellent one-page guide to using this technique on a page.

How to add semantic data to your WordPress site in 20 minutes or less – my talk at WordSesh 2013 | illuminea (2013) excerpt:

[You can also] tag your content with semantic data with the Data Highlighter tool. It works similarly to the Google Structured Data Markup Helper listed above, but instead of working on a per-page basis, it applies itself to groups of pages structured in a similar manner, like all individual blog post pages, or maybe the event pages in a calendar you may have. Once you have finished tagging your site, you submit the data to Google, and do not actually have to modify the code on your site itself. The way this works is both an advantage and disadvantage: it’s really easy to use so pretty much everyone can add semantic data to their site; but only Google will see your semantic data since it’s not actually implemented on the code level. Other search engines, screen readers and other parsers won’t see this data.

  1. Data Highlighter: Products | Search Console Help
  2. About Data Highlighter | Search Console Help
  3. “Data Highlighter tool”

Generated markup

JSON-LD Schema Generator For SEO | Hall Analysis LLC. Using a form specific to a Schema.org type, create, copy and paste into ay page the JSON for adding structured markup. Based on and an improvement of JSON-LD Schema Markup Generator | J.D. Flynn.

Schema App Schema.org Tools for Savvy Digital Marketers (JSON-LD). See its Schema App Structured Data | WordPress Plugins in WordPress plugins.

Testers

Schema Structured Data – SEO Guide by Raven. Submit a site URL to have it analyzed using Site Auditor.

SEO ranking value

Despite the buzz around Schema, our data shows that use of Schema markup doesn’t correlate with higher rankings.

We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO (2016-09-02)

“… according to our analysis, the presence of structured data had no relationship with Google rankings.” However, “… Google’s John Mueller hinted that they might use structured data as a ranking signal in the future.” (S: Google May Add Structured Markup & Data To Ranking Algorithm (2016-09-11)). “… use structured data on your site. But don’t expect it to have an impact on your rankings.”

structured markup impact on search engine ranking: Schema.org Structured Data – Learn SEO – Moz – Moz excerpt:

Structured data’s effect on rankings

Whether structured data affects rankings has been the subject of much discussion and many experiments. As of yet, there is no conclusive evidence that this markup improves rankings. But there are some indications that search results with more extensive rich snippets (like those created using Schema) will have a better click-through rate. For best results, experiment with Schema markup to see how your audience responds to the resulting rich snippets.

The Ultimate Guide to Factors That Don’t Affect Search Rankings | Neil Patel (2015-09-22) (October’s visitors, 406,821). Excerpts:

SEOs and webmasters have been using Schema markup over the last four years or so, for the purpose of improving their listings in search results.

Since the markup is HTML code, you can use them to markup your pages so that search engine spiders can understand your page better.

Schema.org is the site in charge of providing markup. The site came about when Google, Yahoo!, Yandex, and Bing agreed that search results should be somewhat consistent across the search engines.

… does adding a Schema markup improve search rankings? Absolutely not.

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Webspam, in his popular video Q&A segment, said that the simple inclusion of Schema markup on a website won’t necessarily provide any ranking benefit.

Just because a particular web page is marked up with HTML codes that will help search engines understand the content of the page better doesn’t mean that the page is more useful or relevant than other pages.

So, what’s the benefit of using Schema markup? Well, if you want long-term search engine results – i.e., a higher click-through rate and better branding – then you’ve got to spending time optimizing your rich snippets.

According to data published on Search Engine Land, rich snippets like the one below can increase organic CTR by up to 30%. This also means that you’ll likely double or even triple your organic traffic.

SEL 2011 post

“… structured markup actually leads to a 30 percent increase in your site’s click-through-rate .… a CMS with fully integrated and dynamic Schema support. What’s not to like about a 30 percent increase in organic CTR?” S: Structured Data Markup 101: Understanding the Importance | The SEM Post (2015). The “30 percent increase” is from How To Get A 30% Increase In CTR With Structured Markup, a 2011 post.

[The] latest research points out that more than 36% of the Google search results incorporate Schema rich snippets that attract greater attention and traffic when displayed in the SERPs. S: Schema Markup – Rich Snippets in WordPress to boost SEO | WPism.

Searchmetrics analysis 2014

The “latest research” is the URL of Schema.org analysis 2014 | Searchmetrics (2014). The lede is “Over a third of Google search results incorporate Rich Snippets supported by Schema finds new Searchmetrics study; But only 0.3% of websites are making use of the Google approved Schema tool.” The Searchmetrics study, Schema.org – U.S. 2014: Rich Snippets With HTML Microdata And RDF.

Schema.org/WordPress image.Introduction

This post contains the presentation by Robin Macrae at the WordPress Demos, Tips and Tutorials | WordPress Toronto Meetup on 2016-11-23. See the Data Markup Strategy for SEO notes, 2016-11-23 post for the extensive notes for the presentation.

Overview

Schema.org structured data:

  1. Schema.org image.increases organic traffic through higher quality presentation in SERPs but ranking benefit is indirect
  2. many opinions and predictions on its value and future, few authoritative
  3. lots of techniques and tools
  4. makes the case for broader use of structured data in WP

Unstructured 85 pc image.Why it matters

Google will show additional information about your content directly in the search engine results pages via rich snippets so a web pages with a rich snippet can make the content appear more prominently in search results and result higher CTRs and an increase in traffic.

  1. goal is richer search results to improve user experience
  2. on-page markup (tags) helps search engines understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results
  3. Schema.org is a structured data markup schema, a semantic tagging vocabulary, supported by major search engines
  4. provides a standardized search engine “vocabulary”
  5. can increase a page’s rank depending on who you believe

Ways to structure data

  1. microdata, rich snippets
  2. Facebook has Open Graph
  3. Twitter has Twitter Cards
  4. Google+ has authorship

See WordPress kinds of structured data SERP for more.

Three different ways to mark up your data

Use the schema.org vocabulary in one of 3 structured data output formats:

  1. microdata (uses HTML tags and attributes to define data)
  2. JSON-LD (JavaScript based)
  3. RDFa (HTML based)

Examples

Recipe type

roast chicken:

Roast chicken snippet image.

Person/organization type

Toronto SEO Guy: No-Nonsense SEO Consulting & Training:

org_01a_seo_consultant_2016-11-21_scn

Note JSON-LD format, organization type, Schema.org
logo image, social media URLs, Yoast SEO plugin:

<script type='application/ld+json'>{"@context":"http:\/\/schema.org","@type":"WebSite","@id":"#website","url":"http:\/\/torontoseoguy.ca\/","name":"Toronto SEO Guy","potentialAction":{"@type":"SearchAction","target":"http:\/\/torontoseoguy.ca\/?s={search_term_string}","query-input":"required name=search_term_string"}}</script> <script type='application/ld+json'>{"@context":"http:\/\/schema.org","@type":"Organization","url":"http:\/\/torontoseoguy.ca\/","sameAs":["https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/TorontoSEOguy","https:\/\/twitter.com\/TorontoSEOguy"],"@id":"#organization","name":"Toronto SEO Guy","logo":"http:\/\/torontoseoguy.ca\/wp-content\/uploads\/2014\/07\/logo.png"}</script> <!-- / Yoast SEO plugin. -->

See also Powered by Search and Powered by Search: rich card.

Local business data format

sushi restaurant near eaton centre:

Sushi snippet screenshot image.

Other

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Rich Cards expands to more verticals: “Users who tap on your Rich Card will be taken near instantly to your AMP page, and be able to swipe between pages within your site.” See restaurant_card_01a_Google_A.gif. (For some reason, that GIF image causes this page to take an inordinate amount of time to load in FF so I removed it. From the link, the image loads normally in FF.)

Schema.org types (data formats)

Thing image.

Here are a few of the many semantic data schema types.

  • organization, person
  • articles, posts
  • products, services
  • kinds of content (event, video, movie, recipe, ratings, etc.)
  • breadcrumbs (navigation)
  • local business

Schema.org‘s list of commonly used types:

The code

The code that provides the search engines with the data:

  1. using Articles | Search | Google Developers to view sample markup, JSON-LD and microdata
  2. Structured Data Testing Tool takes a URL and returns what the SERP would display for the markup in the submitted page

Real estate snippet screenshot image.Real estate 2 snippet screenshot image.JSON-LD logo image.JSON-LD markup code example

From Schema Structured Data – SEO Guide by Raven (General research):

<script type=’application/ld+json’>
{
“@context”: “http://www.schema.org”,
“@type”: “product”,
“brand”: “Raven Tools”,
“name”: “Site Auditor”,
“image”: “https://raventools.com/img/og-raven.png”,
“description”: “Site Auditor analyzes your site to find all of the SEO issues that may be keeping your site from ranking on search engines.”
}
</script>

Google Review logo image.Google site and tools

  1. guidance on using microdata
  2. wizard to add microdata to a page
  3. validate structured data on any web page to check that microdata is working

WordPress plugins image.Plugins

  1. WP SEO Structured Data Schema | WordPress Plugins (6k) JSON-LD format; 5 reasons why the plugin’s developer thinks that it’s best-in-class
  2. Yoast SEO | WordPress Plugins (1m ) plugin is noteworthy because it enables semantic tagging not only for Schema.org but also Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Note that its Schema.org markup is both limited and a mix of formats.
  3. WPRichSnippets ($69/yr to $399; Hesham Zebida) is an all-in-one plugin with a variety of options to build rich snippets; for review websites as well as product, organization, or restaurant; Black Friday 50% discount)

Google’s format preference

  1. Google prefers microdata for web content (s: Markup Helper)
    JSON-LD is the recommended format where possible (s: Introduction to Structured Data | Google Developers)
  2. … a summary of the format of structured data markup Google recommends for specific goals (s: Structured Data Markup Formats: Microdata vs JSON-LD vs RDFa | Engage The Crowd (2016-04-18)
  3. Google is in the process of adding JSON-LD support for all markup-powered features
  4. conclusion, JSON-LD

Yoast image.SEO value: the context

  1. 30% statistic from SearchEngineLand’s 2011 post
  2. contrary view from Searchmetrics research and analysis 2014
  3. WP plugin developers and SEO practitioners say it improves SEO including ranking
  4. while Google says that structured data isn’t a direct ranking factor, it has also said that it may become one in the near future

Schema.org & Genesis 2.0 | Yoast Dev Blog (Joost Yoast; 2013) excerpt:

Why implement Schema.org markup?

… Not just Google uses schema.org, all 4 major search engines, Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex use it for several different purposes. … So, in my opinion, schema.org markup is a must for everyone serious about their websites optimization.

Thinker statue image.SEO value: conclusions

  1. higher CTRs generally means higher ranking
  2. structured data has a very high correlation (i.e., indirect relationship) with search engine rankings
  3. significant benefits for some schema types (e.g., products in e commerce)
  4. conclusion, better presentation from structured data plus indirect effects but no direct ranking benefit
  5. bonus of faster and more consistent authoring
  6. logical in that mere structure is not indicative of the content itself but rather a minor measure of its quality like spelling

Lightbulb image.Key takeaways

  1. SEO value is real and substantial—just not directly in ranking
  2. sounds complex but tech threshold is low and worth the effort
  3. Google is the mother ship for resources (no surprise)
  4. use Yoast SEO if you already have it and supplement as necessary
  5. think about other uses for structured content

Why keywords?

Keyword word cloud image.Why are keywords important to promoting content?

  1. keywords play a large role in SEO and getting right kind of visitors
  2. user search queries are largely keyword-based, express intent
  3. they tell us what your content is about or for
  4. keywords are highlighted in a SER item
  5. synonyms and related ideas/concepts are relevant
  6. important in social media

What do you use keywords for?

  1. META element (deprecated)
  2. microcontent and titles and headings in particular
  3. body of content (higher is better, frequency within reason)
  4. post and page filenames
  5. keyword stuffing to be avoided

How do you use keywords?

  1. research
    1. a topic (what’s it about, concepts, terminology)
    2. an audience (what are they looking for?)
  2. writing content
    1. research before writing
    2. supplement and adjust in editing
    3. don’t go overboard with keywords for SEO
  3. in publishing content, use a plugin
  4. PPC campaigns
    1. key component of pay-per-click advertising
    2. AdWords is the 800 lb gorrilla
  5. analytics (how is my content performing?
    1. identify keywords that visitors used (referrer)
    2. tag keywords to facilitate tracking

Best free tools and services?

What are the best free tools and services for keyword research, management, use and analysis?

  1. research
    1. Google AdWords: Keyword Planner
    2. Keyword Explorer| Moz, How To Do Keyword Research – The Beginners Guide to SEO | Moz
  2. free plugins with pro versions
    1. Yoast SEO | WordPress Plugins (1m), Keyword research tools: which ones to use? | Yoast
    2. All in One SEO Pack | WordPress Plugins (1m)

The Seth Godin’s fear of shipping I post is a short version prepared from this post.

When I read the Seth Godin reference in Andy McIlwain‘s Content Creator’s Toolbox page, I said to myself “Wow, that’s me.” I looked at the variety of things I’d written in the last few weeks and realized for the umpteenth time that it was a treasure trove and that I must resume publishing in earnest.

Seth Godin bio image.Here’s the reference:

… thinking that everything you produce is going to be a big hit? That’s a mistake. Obsessing over every little detail? That’ll slow you down. Worried that it won’t be good enough? That’ll stop you entirely.

I know the feeling, though. It’s probably the number one reason I don’t write more on my blog. I worry that it won’t be good enough. I worry that others will judge me poorly for what I create.

Seth Godin calls it the fear of shipping. But, the thing is, we can’t stop ourselves from shipping, from creating content. It needs to be done.

I can’t imagine a quotation or precept more applicable to me than that. I’m chagrined. On the other hand, I recognize and derive great solace from the fact that this is endemic to all creative activity. In short, everyone fears ridicule, disappointment and criticism. “Shipping” is an invitation to all three. Moreover, where the deadline is arbitrary, the fear is compounded. The best way to overcome it is …. Well, there isn’t a way. It’s a condition and overcoming it today has no real likelihood of reducing it tomorrow. The only thing that can be accomplished is to blunt its impact through repetition. Shipping leads to more shipping which leads to more shipping and so on. You see what I mean.

That doesn’t make for a compelling argument. So Godin brings in the lizard brain.

Confucius image.Turns out that fear of shipping is just a marketer’s reformulation of aphorisms that date back to the 1600s in the western world and the time of Confucius (“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”) in the east.

So this could be a story about how a clever marketer goes about developing meme as part of the development of his personal brand. Godin targets our “lizard brain” as the source of these primal doubts. “… our job is to figure out how to quiet it and ignore it.” S: Quieting the lizard brain | Seth’s Godin.

The lizard brain or amygdala enables us to react almost instantaneously to the presence of a danger. It’s the super fast reaction of our natural alarm system. S: The Amygdala And Its Allies | The Brain From Top To Bottom.

Homer Simpson's lizard brain image (large).At 11:15, he refers to the lizard brain in terms of its influence in expressing our fears and doubts, a fanciful and colorful bit of pure nonsense. Everything in and about the lizard brain is automatic, autonomous and reactive. That’s why it works. It can’t be shut off. So what he means but doesn’t say is that you learn to live with the fear and to overcome it by simply refusing to behave fearfully.

Recall what people say about bravery. It isn’t because a person doesn’t feel fear. Everyone does. It’s what you do about it that matters.

A key part of Godin’s argument is that we sabotage ourselves. That is much better because it means that we are doing something that we can stop doing. Wrong.

The fear is the recognition of danger, risk and uncertainty. The presence of those conditions means that the fear is at least in some sense, an appropriate response.

He refers to overcoming “the resistance” of the lizard brain. He has endowed it with all kinds of capabilities including resistance and telling us what to do.

Creative activity by its nature involves taking chances of one kind or another.

His point, “Seth Godin calls it the fear of shipping.”, is excellent and definitely applies to me. The 2010 post does refer only to shipping and so I wonder whether Andy saw the analogy to writing or someone else. That post is 175 words.2016-08-08

“fear of shipping”: 240k results.

“I’ve had many many many products, the vast majority of the things I’ve written, or created, the organisations I built fail, but the reason I’ve managed a modicum of success is because I just keep shipping.” — Seth Godin. S: Fear of Not Shipping | Medium and attributed to Quieting the Lizard Brain | Seth Godin (Vimeo).

Steve McConnell‘s book on software management and the concept of thrashing is cited by Godin. He says that thrashing is expensive when it occurs at the end and inexpensive at the beginning. Godin doesn’t define thrashing or use it in a content in which its meaning is obvious. This is a weak argument. Over simplified, thrashing occurs when an OS is devoting more resources to managing the work than it is in performing it. In The Power of Process, he refers to thrashing as unproductive work. In software development, he argues that controlling changes systematically usually occurs late in a project and should occur at and from the beginning.

In the video, He refers to the 37Signals guys writing about the secret to shipping on time and on budget — when you run out of money or time, you ship. See a larger version of the quotation in When you run out of time or money, ship | Andrew P. Gordon.

The quotation attributed to Woody Allen, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” (See Showing Up Is 80 Percent of Life | Quote Investigator.)

Another one is from the game of hockey, “you can’t score if you don’t shoot.” (sources)

Similarly, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” is a famous hockey adage that’s usually credited by Wayne Gretzky, a Hall of Fame player. S: The Big Apple: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” (hockey adage).

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Perfect is the enemy of good is an aphorism, an English variant of the older better is the enemy of good, which was popularized by Voltaire in French form. Alternative forms include “the perfect is the enemy of the good”, which more closely translate French and earlier Italian sayings, or “[the] perfect is the enemy of [the] good enough”. Similar sentiments occur in other phrases, including from English, and are all attested since around 1600.Perfect is the enemy of good | Wikipedia.

Returning to his presentation, at 0000, he explains why the resistance to shipping — getting stuff finished and despatched/published/released— is just another symptom of our lizard brain at work.

Another concept Seth Godin raises in his presentation is one of Steve McConnell’s: thrash early. “Thrash at the beginning because thrashing at the beginning is cheap.” In this context, “thrashing” means working without making any progress. The expression was coined, I believe, by Frederick Brooks, in The Mythical Man-Month where he described great beasts, long since extinct, that had strayed into a tar pit, thrashing about with all their might but not making any progress to escape their predicament. S: It’s not about writing … it’s about shipping | ITauthor

“… unfamiliar tasks rekindle the fear of shipping.” S: The Neverending Fear of Shipping | Andy Adams.

“I like Apple for the opposite reason: they’re not afraid of getting a rudimentary 1.0 out into the world. … if you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.” S: 1.0 Is the Loneliest Number | Matt Mullenweg. He goes on to say:

Usage is like oxygen for ideas. You can never fully anticipate how an audience is going to react to something you’ve created until it’s out there. …

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. S: Frank Herbert, Dune.

Tags: , ,

Gerry McGovern bio image.

From users to customers | Gerry McGovern is a terrific newsletter/post.

He nails it when he describes how the user in an enterprise context is the last and least of the stakeholders in the acquisition of a CMS, CRM or other business platform. Such software is essential to the modern business and its evolving digital workplace, he provides the context for why productivity, adoption and governance — change management—are virtually impossible to achieve.

The short answer he offers is that the decision-makers in these large and complex software buys, the senior manager—or group of senior managers—responsible for signing off on the budget for the purchase of the technology, are customers that never actually use the software. “They don’t deliberately set out to buy unusable software for their employees. It’s just that they don’t care much either way whether it’s easy to use or not.”

Having been involved in many enterprise projects in which there is a complete disconnect between the executives and the users, his characterization of the process made me laugh:

There is often a mutual loathing between the technology vendor and the customer. The vendor feels that the customer is clueless, that they just spew out feature lists, That, while they talk about simplicity, they will always buy the sexiest, most complex, feature rich, weighed down by as many bells and whistles thing, and latest, coolest gizmo that they can possibly find. And that they want it all at crazy low prices.

The customer feels like they’re trapped in a horrible relationship because of all that legacy stuff. They feel that whatever price they are initially given, they will ultimately pay three times more. And most of them think that it just won’t work anyway.

This corrosive atmosphere thrives because nobody cares about the ‘user’. …

His answer is that the new model makes the customer, the person who uses the product or service, the center and focuses on use.

This is a theme he has been developing for years in his research and writing. One of my favorites is Why do organizations hate their content management system? | Gerry McGovern (2013).

In other essays, McGovern has developed his customer-centric thesis in part by emphasizing what people actually need by studying the tasks they perform and how systems can assist them. Top-task management is a methodology developed by Gerry McGovern to improve and optimize websites.

Gerry McGovern‘s weekly New Thinking newsletter is an excellent read at 500 words per.

WordPress Toronto Meetup (WPTO) banner image.

This “lecture” was Jacques Surveyer‘s basic sales pitch for WP newbies on the reasons he believes make WordPress a compelling proposition for small business owners.

I need to start a page to collect and document the things on which I could ask for help such as the pending domain name change and folders vs categories and retrofitting folders to organize images in Media Library.

I realized that the the 26% WordPress market share figure doesn’t take into account the number of pages by CMS. There are a lot of WP sites but many are likely to be small. One enterprise SharePoint site could easily have a million pages. (I thought I had documented the stats but I couldn’t find anything.) I couldn’t find the chart used by JS. See Usage Statistics and Market Share of Content Management Systems for Websites, October 2016 and then see Can You Trust BuiltWith, W3Techs and Software Usage Statistics?.

Check out WordPress | Kijiji and WordPress jobs | Kijiji Classifieds. JS mentioned how easy it is to find WP talent.

Several people expressed the feeling that they were being held hostage by their lack of technical knowhow in WP. The WP pitch of fast, cheap and easy (like SharePoint) attracts people who then feel overwhelmed, frustrated and dependent on people for work they don’t understand but think that they should. Feelings of inadequacy. This is a worthwhile topic to develop.

JS thinks that SEO and site promotion are now one of the 3 categories of work in a site. The other 2 are content creation and updating and site operations and performance tuning. He thinks SEO is the number one problem people have with their sites (i.e., traffic). He categorizes Beaver Builder as a content creation tool. He thinks its fine to use for authoring pages and posts.

I realized that HTML and CSS are essential skills for both WP and content on any CMS.

Should I go multisite so that I can create test and/or lab sites, client prototypes and a CRM or another specialized one.

Multisite is a feature of WordPress 3.0 and later versions that allows multiple virtual sites to share a single WordPress installation. When the multisite feature is activated, the original WordPress site can be converted to support a network of sites. S: Multisite | Codex. Create A Network | Codex is the key page and provides instructions for a manual install.

I wonder whether free themes are all that useful outside of novices and hobbyists because of their limitations. This is another aspect of the easy, fast and cheap — yes, but with limitations and caveats.

I should move to SiteGround in November. JS has persuaded me that the new managed services providers are better than generic ones especially in speed (SSDs). Plus the cost is much less for the first year than I will be paying Sibername, the host I’ve used for 6+ years. My experience with Sibername has been excellent but they’re not competitive with managed services providers.

In the JS pitch, plugins play a big role. However, there are caveats:

  1. how many of the 45k aren’t maintained (50% or more?)
  2. reviews are not helpful and ones like Theme Switcha have none (so far)
  3. many plugins poorly documented in part because many developers are virtually illiterate or non-English
  4. bait and switch is is the feeling you get from some of them

Smart Slider 3 | WordPress Plugins (50k), Smart Slider 3, $25/100. JS recommended.

Nothing to speak of on theme selection. The key criteria are:

  1. business requirements
  2. skill level, technical capabilities
  3. budget
  4. timing

Sites start out as publishing platforms and then evolve:

  1. primary customer interface
  2. key marketing and sales vehicle (digital marketing)
  3. then as a DW

The hosts he recommended were:

  1. TMD Hosting
  2. InMotion Hosting
  3. A2 Hosting

I looked for the plugin that displays shortcode in the editor and couldn’t find it. I found the following in the process. Edit Screen Shortcode Lister | WordPress Plugins (100) displays a list of all the shortcodes available for use on the post and page edit screens. In that way, you don’t have to remember all of the shortcodes available to use. Display Posts Shortcode | WordPress Plugins (70k) is for inserting content in a post. Shortcode Reference | WordPress Plugins (800) does the same thing.

While working on this, it occurs to me that the way in which consultants and developers organize and manage technical information isn’t something people talk about or document. How do you keep track of themes, plugins, tools, etc. so that you can find them when you need them. Do you use WP for this? Should you?

What are the issues with page builders?

  1. they’re not as simple as they appear and often have cryptic aspects
  2. tech lockin
  3. desktop publishing experience (chaos, overuse; how much does Word improve your writing?)

The advantages include:

  1. less tech knowhow but still some
  2. agile development especially with WYSIWYG
  3. pages designed for specific business purpose and potential for structured content

JS recommended the SiteGround CSS styler plugin editor:

  1. SiteOrigin CSS | WordPress Plugins (“We’re committed to keeping SiteOrigin CSS, free.”)
  2. CSS editor | SiteOrigin

Other plugins recommended:

  1. WP Edit | WordPress Plugins (100k; compatible with TinyMCE 4 and replaces TinyMCE Ultimate as of WP 3.9); WP Edit Pro ($17.50 and up)
  2. Spam Protection: Spam Protection by CleanTalk (no Captcha Anti-Spam) | WordPress Plugins or SPAM Protection and Anti SPAM | WordPress Plugins?)
  3. WP Analytics (WP Analytics Pro | WordPress Plugins (90)?)
  4. Cyclone Slider 2 | WordPress Plugins (80k)
  5. Greg’s High Performance SEO | WordPress Plugins (20k)

Tags: , ,

WordPress Toronto Meetup (WPTO) log image.

This post is a follow-up to the Meetup event to which I referred in my Beaver Builder plugin and theme demo with my site at the 2016-09-03 Meetup post.

Jacques installed the Headway theme from Headway Themes (Vesped Inc.) along with the Beaver Builder page builder plugin and the CSS Hero visual CSS editor plugin.

That caught me off guard as I was expecting and had prepared to use the Beaver Builder theme.

As it turned out, I found the Headway theme v4 to be an excellent choice and got underway learning how to use it. The more I learned, the more I saw the value of this framework.

Everything was going well until I read the Headway Theme’s Future is Uncertain Amidst Financial Troubles | WordPress Tavern post and the Headway Themes (warning: do not buy) | Reddit thread. Then a colleague told me that he thought that v4 was being rolled back to a beta and that he was disappointed in theme’s support. He said he regretted buying the theme. That didn’t kill it for me but it put a dent in my confidence in it.

Now I’m evaluating another combination, the one recommended by Colin Cartwright in The Dynamik Beaver‘s about page; namely:

  1. Genesis Framework | StudioPress
  2. Dynamik Website Builder for Genesis, a premium Genesis child theme, and
  3. Genesis Extender Plugin, compatible with all Genesis child themes

More to follow.

Beaver Builder plugin product icon image.

Updated 2016-09-16.

In preparation for Jacques
Surveyer
‘s WordPress Demos, Tips and Tutorials | WPTO Meetup on 2016-09-03 (Saturday), I drafted some text, collected a set of images, created several pages and found examples of pages I liked and wanted to use as a model.

Beaver Builder plugin product icon image.Briefly, my humble site is a demo site for the Meetup. Jacques will install the Beaver Builder plugin, Beaver Builder theme and the CSS Hero plugin. Then he will build a new home page using the text and images I have prepared.

I appreciate Jacques assistance and the two plugins and send a thanks to Colin Cartwright for contributing the theme.

My preparatory tasks consisted of:

  1. a draft of the new home page Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! text
  2. a set of images
  3. a list the pages which are similar to the one I have in mind
  4. add a plugin to put the site in maintenance mode
  5. backup the files and database as usual
  6. create an admin login for Jacques to use for the work

I selected the most popular of the several plugins, WP Maintenance Mode | WordPress Plugins. It was easy to configure. I worked out the page’s text in a few minutes. I turned on the timer feature.

I added the images to the Media Library. My first thought had been to upload the set to Google Drive or Dropbox but then realized that they would end up in the Media Library in due course. It’s easier to delete the ones not needed than to add them one by one during the demo.

To describe the new home page design I want is difficult in text so the following are examples to analyze, deconstruct and
reuse:

  1. Electrical Web Solutions, About
  2. WordPress Page Builder Plugin | Beaver Builder
  3. Copyblogger – Content Marketing Mastery
  4. Rainmaker Platform
  5. Mautic, Products | Mautic.com

Second version:

  1. Parallels
  2. Diverse Website Strategies, the developer of WordPress Office 365
  3. Thrive Services

This is going to be a blast.

Tags: , ,

The Seth Godin’s fear of shipping II post is the original and much longer version of this post.

… thinking that everything you produce is going to be a big hit? That’s a mistake. Obsessing over every little detail? That’ll slow you down. Worried that it won’t be good enough? That’ll stop you entirely.

I know the feeling, though. It’s probably the number one reason I don’t write more on my blog. I worry that it won’t be good enough. I worry that others will judge me poorly for what I create.

Seth Godin calls it the fear of shipping. But, the thing is, we can’t stop ourselves from shipping, from creating content. It needs to be done.

Seth Godin bio image.When I read the Seth Godin reference in Andy McIlwain’s
Content Creator’s
Toolbox
page, I said to myself “Wow, that’s me.”

I looked at the variety of things I’d written in the last few
weeks and realized for the umpteenth time that it was a treasure trove and that
I must resume publishing in earnest.

I can’t imagine a quotation or precept more applicable to me
than that.

I’m chagrined.

On the other hand, I recognize and derive great
solace from the fact that this is endemic to all creative activity. In short,
everyone fears ridicule, disappointment and criticism. “Shipping” is an
invitation to all three.

Moreover, where the deadline is arbitrary, the fear is
compounded.

The best way to overcome it is …. well, there isn’t a way.
It’s a condition and overcoming it today has no real likelihood of reducing it’s
incidence tomorrow. The only thing that can be accomplished is to blunt its impact
through repetition. Shipping leads to more shipping which leads to more shipping
and so on. You see what I mean.

Tags: , ,

Richard Harbridge is a SharePoint expert whose presentations are superb in both their technical and educational qualities. He has technical expertise that he can deliver in a compelling and understandable fashion.

Granted, a PowerPoint slide deck is a poor representation of a person delivering a presentation. Still, it gives you an idea of his thinking process. So I can recommend his Is SPFest Chicago one, Your SharePoint Healthy? What's The Right Prescription?.

Apart from its value on the topic itself, the presentation is an excellent example of a key promotional technique for consultants. It offers a diagnostic technique that enables you to evaluate your SharePoint facility. In doing so, it describes a service that Richard offers as well as represents the kind of work that he does. It's a soft sell and very effective.

I attended a day long workshop on information architecture that Richard conducted with Ruven Gotz at the SharePoint Summit 2012 in May about which I intend to write in October — stay tuned.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This post marks my return to active WordPress blogging n the occasion of the WordCamp Toronto 2012 event.

Taking my own advice — the best way to write is to just start writing — I will get going with this post and continue with posts on some of the things I found noteworthy at WordCamp this year.

In reviewing the WordCamp schedule, I see the three streams and their lists of sessions and the page with the individual sessions but no schedule that shows all the sessions so that they can be compared and sessions from each stream selected. In other words, the table listing the sessions (rows) by streams (solumns) is missing.

Otherwise, I like the site and its clean and well-organized layout. The speakers are given the prominence they're due and the featured ones is an effective promotional technique.

So far, so good!

More to come ….

« Older entries